Thursday, March 10, 2005

Autodesk Faux-Paus Creates a BrewHaha

Apparently some members of the press took issue with Autodesk allowing some of us who blog on Autodesk products to discuss in a limited fashion some of the features of the upcoming AutoCAD 2006 release before the official press embargo was lifted. While I can understand their angst, and hindsight might make it clear that Autodesk made an error in allowing us to talk before anyone else, I think things have been blown a bit out of proportion.

Autodesk has been accused of manipulating the blogging community to get favorable press. Some of us, myself in particular, have been accused of conflict of interest. In particular I have been accused by someone who I consider to be little more than a troll of "conflict of interest" because I wear a "title" on the Autodesk forums as a "Facilitator".

Let me make a few things clear.
1) Not once was I or any other blogger told what to say or what to write about. We were explicitly told to go ahead and post the good, the bad, the ugly. It so happens that most of us, if not all of us, are very impressed with the work the development team has done on AutoCAD 2006. Perhaps there is some truth that Autodesk chose us because we have typically been somewhat pro-Autodesk in the past. I don't see the scandal here. Most of us make our positions regarding Autodesk products fairly clear. My profile indicates that I have a relationship with Autodesk; I doubt they would continue to allow me to speak at Autodesk University if I was bashing the products that I speak about.

2) I happen to know at least one person involved in the "scandal" personally and I know that person is an honest, forthright individual who had no ulterior motives beyond perhaps a boundless enthusiasm for the product. I see that as a good thing in this case. I find it hard to believe that person, who I consider a personal friend, would try to manipulate me to gain good press.

3) I wear the Autodesk Facilitator badge on the newsgroups as a volunteer. I am not paid by Autodesk for those services; I perform them as a volunteer. As hard as it may be to believe in this cynical and jaded world, I do not get any compensation for those efforts, beyond my own personal satisfaction. It's interesting that the individual who accused me of conflict of interest focused on THAT particular aspect of my association with Autodesk, but failed to mention that I am an employee of a reseller, and it would be in that capacity, if any, where there might be a conflict of interest.

Be that as it may, employee of a reseller or not, facilitator or not, believe it or not, there is no subterfuge or other manipulation going on here. My limited comments on the product are based on my own personal observations of the software. And again, now that the press embargo is lifted, I will not be commenting on the AutoCAD features - I will leave that to the press, and stick to the features of ADT when they become available for public consumption, since that is the real focus of this blog.

If my associations with Autodesk are seen as "conflict of interest", then I would suggest reviewing my posts on this blog and judging for yourself. Are the product-related posts that I present cheerleading, or informational? If the former, be entertained. If the latter, I hope you find them valuable.

Regardless, I consider the matter closed on my end and plan to continue my efforts regarding ADT and Building Information Modeling.


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